Presented by Jessica Kunke, Lei Zhu, Stephen Portillo

The natural world is so complex and unpredictable that it might seem math could never be a sufficient tool to understand it.  Our lecture aims to widen this view of math and explore how mathematical models and chaos theory give us insights into nature.  The first part of our lecture introduces the concepts of math models and nonlinearity, a key idea in chaos theory.  We’ll see how so much of our world is described by nonlinear systems.  The second talk will explore the so-called “butterfly effect.”  We’ll examine how it limits our ability to calculate the future while other properties of chaos can provide insights into its patterns. Finally, the third talk will consider the striking order and structure that arises from chaos and how the self-similarity that appears everywhere from the human body to the large-scale structure of the universe is related to patterns that arise from mathematics itself.


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